Sphynx (cat)

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The Sphynx (also known as Canadian Hairless ) is a rare breed of cat known for its lack of a coat.

The contemporary breed of Sphynx (known also as the Canadian Sphynx, distinct from the Russian Sphynx breeds - Peterbald, Don Sphynx) started in 1966, in Roncesvalles, Toronto when a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was mated with its mother (backcrossing), which produced one more naked kitten. Together with a few naked kittens found later it became the primogenitor of the breed. The first sphynx breeders faced a number of problems: The genetic pool was very limited; breeders had rather vague ideas about sphynx genetics, and many kittens died. The naked male Epidermis born in 1975 to short-haired mother provided new material to sphynx fanciers and new genes for further breed development. In the early stages of the breed crosses with devon-rex were used, but later this crossing was frowned upon because it caused health problems. Now the Canadian Sphynx is a breed with a sound genetic pool. Outcrossing is still permitted using guidelines set down in the "standards" from each Feline Association around the globe.

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Characteristics

The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, but it is not truly hairless. The skin texture resembles that of Chamois leather. It may be covered with vellus hair. Because the sphynx cats have no pelt to keep them warm they huddle up against other animals and people. They even tend to cuddle up and sleep with their owners under the covers [1] Lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or broken, or may be totally absent. The skin is the colour their fur would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, etc.) may be found on Sphynx skin.

Sphynxes generally have wedge-shaped heads and sturdy, heavy bodies. Standards call for a full round abdomen, also known as pot bellies [2].

Sphynxes are known for their extroverted behavior. They display a high level of energy, intelligence, curiosity, and affection for their owners.[3]

Care

While Sphynx cats lack a coat to shed or groom, they are not maintenance-free. Body oils, which would normally be absorbed by the hair, tend to build up on the skin. As a result, regular cleaning (usually in the form of bathing) is necessary; one bath a week is usually sufficient.[4] Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop sunburn and photo damage similar to that of humans. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat when it is cold. Their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations [5].

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